National Employment Policies: A guide for workers’ organisations
About this guide
- What is a national employment policy?
Part 1 explains what national employment policies are and looks at the current context that has brought employment back on top of national and international agendas. It explains how the ILO developed its approach to effective engagement in the policy process.
- What has to be in place for trade unions to successfully take part in national employment policy?
Part 2 talks about what it means for trade unions to have this new role as a key stakeholder. It describes the social structures and conditions for dialogue that need to be in place in a country for trade unions to successfully contribute to a national employment policy.
- The role of trade unions in the policy cycle.
Part 3 is a detailed, stage-by-stage description of the national employment policy-making process. There are seven stages: preparation, issue identification, formulation, adoption, action planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluating. Trade unions need to strengthen their ability to participate in all stages of the policy cycle. Part 3 provides some practical suggestions on how to handle the most challenging aspects of employment policy development. It details the possible ways that trade unions can engage at each of the stages.
- Gathering and analysing labour market data.
Part 4 introduces the basics of collecting and analysing labour market data – essential skills for trade unions that want to be credible and informed stakeholders. It explains where to find good data and when trade unions might want to collect it themselves. It explains labour force concepts and the indicators we use to measure them. Trade unions need to be able to interpret employment numbers so that they can make policy arguments and monitor policy results.
- How do macroeconomic and sectoral policies affect employment?
Part 5 arms trade unionists with the main elements of debate around economic policy. The choice of public policies is influenced by theory and analysis. We look at macroeconomics, the study of the economy as a whole, and how policies at this level can influence the creation of decent jobs. We explain and look at the impact of monetary policy, exchange rate policy, and fiscal policy. We discuss why and how it is important for trade unions to influence these macroeconomic policies, as well as policies in particular sectors.
- Policy responses to the informal economy.
Part 6 talks about the informal economy – that area of the labour market that is largely unregulated, where workers are unprotected and often exploited. Trade unions should be equipped and ready to engage in discussions about national policy responses to the informal economy. These policy responses should be embedded in every social and economic policy. We also talk about the ways that organized trade unions in many countries are helping informal workers to bring their voices to the table.
- Labour institutions, social protection and employment.
Part 7 discusses the role of labour institutions – the rules, practices and policies that affect how the labour market works. We focus on two important labour market institutions – employment protection legislation and minimum wages. We look at the theoretical arguments for and against them and at what the research says. We also look at the linkages between employment and social protection systems, such as social security, pension plans and unemployment benefits. Our key message is that national employment policies and social protection systems have to be closely linked. Trade unions need to be able to argue for these connections in policy design in order to frame solutions grounded in long-term, sustainable, employment-centred growth.
- Some key terms and what they mean.
Part 8 is a glossary or list of key words that we use in this guide, with reminders about what they mean. These words appear in blue the first time you see them.